Colony of Losers- Fuck Stigma and Mental Illness, I'm like 25

Surviving your Quarter Life Crisis and becoming an adult

Glotka’s wisdom

Posted on | September 27, 2017 | No Comments

Joe Abercrombie is my big recommendation for anyone who enjoyed Game of Thrones and wanted their dark fantasy with a little more funny.

In his First Law trilogy his breakout (Tyrion) level character is named Sand Dan Glotka. In his rosy past Glotka was the foremost duellist in the Union. Until he bravely dashed into an ambush. He was captured and tortured for two years until he was crippled and left with few unshattered teeth. When he was released he promptly joined his country’s torturers and became a legend. The moment I always remember is when he’s asked how could he become a torturer when he knows what it’s like to be tortured. He pauses for a moment. And explains that when you’re tortured you don’t become more merciful or compassionate, you simply long to see someone else suffer in the same way.

The reason I think about this frequently is my immediate response to being shamed. Which is different than being made to feel guilty. Everyone says the wrong thing sometimes. It can be incredibly helpful to be shown your mistakes so that you can avoid repeating them. To be shamed is the difference between doing a bad thing and being a bad person. Currently our social media society is driven by shame. Half of the articles in my feed are about how the people we disagree with must be idiots.

When a person makes me feel shame I don’t think about what drives them to say such hurtful things. I don’t imagine their insecurities or the painful conversation they just had that filled them with this feeling. I immediately think of something I could say that would cut them down to size. Like you want to play this game? I used to battle rap, motherfucker. I can show you yourself in ways you won’t be able to forget. I want to show them how my eyes which can find beauty in anyone, can also measure out the ridiculous and awful in equal measures.

The problem is that shame doesn’t stop when you pass it to another person. Your pain just become someone’s elses. Your behavior just becomes that of your abuser.

In corporate culture there is a very easy way of judging the worth of an employee or coworker. It’s what they do with stress. A bad manager is an incredibly scared one. Because as soon as they feel their stress they add their stress to someone else. And since Glotka’s wisdom remains true, this stress is passed down the line until everyone is feeling it. And the strange thing about this type of anxiety is that you can’t get it out of your system by passing it onto someone else. So they multiply what begin in their mindstate into the reality that surrounds them. And you can feel it passing from person to person like the flu. Then there are the Doctors. Who can relax the chain and bring everyone back to sanity.

These are the people who you want as your boss. Who know the difference between guilt and shame.

I don’t believe in the Secret. Where your thoughts dictate the nature of your reality to the extent that if you think positively you can get everything you ever wanted. There is far too much luck and privelege in the universe for this to be possible. I do however believe that what you put into the world in thought and deed will be felt by those around you.

If you’re angry and looking to regain emotional balance, if you use your anger on someone else they will in turn have to use their anger on you or someone else to return to balance. Emotional outbursts tend to contain the very emotions we are trying to escape. Which will make someone else try to escape them as well. Anger stays as anger. Shame stays as shame. They don’t rarely become compassion or understanding.

Intense emotions make us click on articles. They are meant to appeal to our desire to be right. For us to be right, our opponents have to be idiots. We need confirmation.

I’m not saying that there aren’t people who don’t need to be yelled at. I would argue that there is inconvertible historical proof that yelling at someone tends to not change their opinion. It only makes them feel an intense shame. Which becomes anger because it feels better.  And then they will eject their negative emotions back into the world.

Compassion on the other hand seems to work the same way. You treat someone with respect and understanding they are infinitely more likely to respond to your grievances and actually try to redress the wrong they’ve done you. I’m not saying it will work every time. Just that it’s more likely to work than using shame in the hopes of getting a positive response and changing a situation for the better.

I think there’s a moment where you get to choose.

What type of person you are and how strong you can be. It’s that moment when you feel a blade sliding to your heart. The shame feels like it’s piercing you and you can feel it serated edges until you want to scream. Making you wish you could hide from the world for a million years. And instead of ripping from your chest and ramming it into someone else’s you could pause for a second. If you’re feeling particularly brave you can tell the person who wielded the knife that they’ve hurt you. Right then and there. You’re incredible strong. Unlike most people who hide their wounds until they can fester.

I think who you are is what we do when those moments hit us.

Can we decide to be merciful to ourselves and the people who convert their pain to that of other people.

Will be doctors or torturers?

 

 

 

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    Michael Kimber is a 26-year-old journalist who suffered a nervous breakdown on November 3rd, 2009. On March 28th, 2010 when he recovered from mental illness, he began writing a blog called Colony-of-losers. About falling on your face to figure out who you are and the hilarious antics of a blond jew. What began with a few friends and his mother reading has become a cult phenomenon, averaging 10,000 views a week, receiving praise from Commonwealth Award Winner Shandi Mitchell and many others. On, November 3rd, 2010, the one year anniversary of his mental breakdown he signed with Anne McDermid and Associates, the largest literary agency in Canada. In a year he went from wearing pajamas, making his couch depression HQ to leaving his hometown for the Toronto, where he exclusively wears business suits and the armor of ancient Greeks. Don't worry, he's still choking on the feet he contently sticks in his mouth and making moments awkward just by being part of them. During these struggles he met other talented bastards and drew them into his circle. Peter Diamond became his illustrator. Patrick Campbell his video editor and part time photographer. He recently added the incredibly talented John Packman as Colony of Losers Toronto photographer. Without the support of the Colony of Losers, Michael Kimber would be nothing. Welcome to the losers and the success that comes from utter and complete failure. You aren’t alone. Follow him on twitter.com/colonyoflosersand twitter.com/quimbo. If you’d like to hire him for a public speaking engagement for mental health events in Toronto, like to arrange an interview, offer millions to publish his book or for another reason contact Michael please email him. And join his facebook Colony of Losers.

    Really obvious disclaimer:
    I’m not a trained psychologist. Just a fellow traveler. If you need help seek it from the professionals. The Canadian Mental Health Association provides a help locator. You can find crisis resources provided by the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. If you are in the states check here. It will give you services by zip code. I’d also recommend checking out Mindyourmind.ca. I think they do great work and have been a help to me personally.

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